April 6, 2008

YouTube Awards

The 2007 winners of the YouTube Video Awards have been decided.
One of my favorites is sure to pick you up if you're having a bad day.
Laughing Baby is the winner of the Adorable category.

SNL: Obama & Race

Hillary may have Tina Fey's support, but Tracy Morgan is behind Obama.
His comments on race and racism are spot on and hilarious.

Obama's Speech

If you haven't seen Obama's speech on race yet I urge you to watch it.
It is worth all 38 minutes of your time.

I believe his articulation and explanation of the frustrations held by different people groups can help improve our nation and our world.

I've got more to say about his comments in my editorial.
For the video and the transcript click here.

April 5, 2008

Fox News Porn

Originally I wasn't going to use this video from Brave New Films,
but after seeing the trashy coverage on Fox about Eliot Spitzer's lady friend I decided that more people need to know how obscene Fox News can be.
"News on Fox looks like a video game, full of bluster, blondes and blaring graphics." (Time Magazine)
Warning: This video is pretty graphic, but it's all from Fox News.
ACT: Contact Fox and their advertisers and tell them that you're sick of this crap.

Tent Cities in LA

American media have covered the mortgage crisis fairly extensively.
However, this short clip from BBC News reminds me again why they are better.
(Crooks and Liars)

Save the Seals

The hunt for 275,000 seals has begun again in Canada.
While crushing their skulls is supposed to cause immediate death,
many seals suffer multiple blows and some die slowly.
ACT: Sign the Pledge to boycott Canadian seafood.
ACT: Donate to the Humane Society to support their work.

Victim of Torture

"An innocent man held as a terror detainee for years tells Scott Pelley, in his first U.S. television interview, how Americans tortured him in Afghanistan and then at Guantanamo Bay." (60 Minutes)

Even after authorities believed he was innocent, he was held another 3 1/2 years when new charges were fabricated.

Winter Soldier

Iraq Veterans Against the War recently sponsored Winter Soldier.
Barely covered by the mainstream media, Winter Soldier was an event for U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan to share eyewitness accounts.

And I realized that I was supposed to be guarding my unit from this detainee, and at that point I realized I was guarding the detainee from my unit.” (Mike Prysner)

Wal-Mart vs Debbie

Thanks to CNN, Wake Up WalMart, and others, bad publicity and public outcry caused Wal-Mart to change their policy towards Debbie Shank and withdraw their lawsuit.

Music & Film: War

Bill Moyers interviewed Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro about their documentary, Body of War. The film depicts the story of Iraq war veteran Tomas Young. Young was shot and paralyzed less than a week into his tour of duty. Watch clips of the movie and the interview here. (Thanks Cody)

Inspired by Tomas Young's story, Eddie Vedder wrote "No More."
It's included in Body of War: Songs That Inspired an Iraq War Veteran, a two-CD compilation featuring songs handpicked by Young. Sale proceeds from the record will benefit Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Below is the trailer for the film.

Healthcare Proposals

"The proposals put forward by the current Democratic candidates for president, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, will improve the situation...But the major problems will remain unresolved, including the problems the candidates have referred to during their campaigns. People will still experience incomplete coverage, and many millions will continue to be uninsured and underinsured." (Vicente Navarro)
ACT: Tell Congress to support single payer healthcare.

Zimbabwe's Election

The opposition party in Zimbabwe was stopped by police from filing a petition with the high court to have the election results released.
Now Mugabe's party has "demanded a recount and a postponement of any announcement of the final tally."
ACT: Pray for peace.


A US federal appeals court has overturned the death sentence imposed on Mumia Abu-Jamal.

"The court said Abu-Jamal's conviction for murdering a Philadelphia police officer should stand, but that he should have a new sentencing hearing."
(BBC News)

ACT: Sign the petition to save Mumia.

Troy Davis was almost executed in July. In March the Georgia Supreme Court turned down an appeal for a new trial for Troy Davis.

ACT: Contact the GA State Board of Pardons and Paroles

Glenn Edward Chapman was released from a NC prison after a judge found that investigators covered up evidence showing his innocence. Chapman was on death row for 15 years.

The Supreme Court has ruled against Bush's attempts to abide by the World Court. Several dozen Mexican citizens who had been sentenced to death in the United States had not been given the assistance from Mexican diplomats that they were entitled to receive under an international treaty. (Thanks for trying George)

In case there is still some confusion about the link between Al-Qaeda & Iraq, a Pentagon-sponsored study has confirmed that there was no link.
Darn lies that got us into this war.

The voices of the people have been heard. The House's version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act bill that was passed does not include telecom immunity.


SD Bread for the World Workshops
April 7, 7-9pm @ Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Spearfish
April 8, 7-9pm @ Morrison Commons, Augustana, Sioux Falls

Interfaith Worker Justice
Seminary Summer Internship
June 8th-August 15th (Apply Now)

N.T. Wright
April 23, 7:30pm @ White Hall 208, Emory University

United Methodist General Conference

Fort Worth, TX April 23-May 2 (website)

Angry Preachers Part I

After watching Obama's speech on race I was eager to see the media's reaction. I couldn't help myself to see what Fox News was saying. While several guests and reporters had positive things to say, generally the people were clueless about the nature of prophetic preaching and annoyingly critical of Obama's speech and his associations with Rev. Wright. Even Fox 's own Chris Wallace criticized the continuous Obama bashing. (Thanks Cody)

As I thought about my own reaction to the speech I found myself impressed and inspired. His words were words that needed to be spoken and they are words that need to be heard. It wasn't a perfect speech however, and one shortcoming was the sharp distinction he made between Rev. Wright's generation being angry and following generations being hopeful. (Thanks Kim)

Obama claimed that Wright was mistaken because he was angry, distorted reality, and "spoke as if society was static." Part of Obama's comments resonated with me: "That anger is not always productive...[it] prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change." I've seen that anger, not just in Rev. Wright or other African-American preachers, but in conservative and liberal white preachers, and in people.

Is anger an appropriate emotion for preachers to preach with or for Christians to feel? I am angry that police shot and killed an old woman in Atlanta. I am angry that children are raped and bought as sex slaves. I am angry that we spend trillions on war while people die of hunger. When these feelings of anger are combined with the "belief that society can change" things are gonna happen. I believe Obama was mistaken to basically suggest that young people don't have anything to be angry about and that anger contradicts hope. There is much to be angry at and anger can prevent people from being apathetic. When that anger is combined with the willingness to do what is right, progress can occur. Augustine writes, “Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage. Anger at the way things are and courage to see that they do not remain as they are.”

My critique of Obama's comments does not mean that I support or reject Rev. Wright's comments. But I do understand Wright's remarks and I believe the anger behind them is legitimate. I will return later to the prophetic nature of his comments and their tactfulness and appropriateness. For now, the lingering question in my mind is this: Is what we say and do grounded in love?